Independence and Mother-in-Laws: The Effect of MoCA Regulations on Civil Society Autonomy in China
18 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 29 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2009
This paper examines the effect of registration regulations on civil society autonomy from the state, and argues that mother-in-laws (supervisory agencies) often advance civil society goals and protect these groups from both the local and central government. Although the registration system is designed to decrease autonomy and increase control over civil society activity, the existence of fragmented authoritarianism means that supervisory agencies often partner with civil society groups to pursue goals desired by the agency that are politically sensitive or can help advance the lead cadre’s career. While there is variation in the effect of registration regulations on civil society autonomy, this paper presents evidence based on 15 months of fieldwork in China that many mother-in-laws play a policy advocacy role through the civil society groups they supervise.
Keywords: China, Civil Society
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